Steam Adds $100 Submission Fee to Greenlight, Displeases Developers
Steam Greenlight recently released to much fanfare. The system provides a way for indie developers to potentially appear on Steam while also gauging the community’s response. Essentially, if a game receives enough positive attention from users, Valve will look at releasing it on their platform. This bypasses all the hassle previously needed to see an indie game appear on the service. Much like anything that accepts public submissions on the Internet, however, Greenlight has had a fairly poor signal to noise ratio. To help cut the wheat for the chaff, Valve has implemented a $100 submission fee. Some folks aren’t so happy about this.
In Valve’s defense, a $100 fee is probably the simplest way for them to reduce all the bogus and trolling submissions. They are, after all, looking to eventually turn a profit on these games, so ensuring that the developers behind the concepts are serious about following through is in their best interest. The fee will even be going to charity, so it’s not like Valve’s looking to profit off the little folks.
$100, however, is not exactly a completely trivial amount. Indie developer advocates seem to be of a mind that this fee, while seemingly fine, is just another method for the traditional industry to exclude those that exist outside the boundaries. In effect, some might argue, this is marginalization at its finest.
The reality of the situation is that Valve’s ultimate goal here is to provide access to excellent indie games that will, in the end, make them money. A better solution would be to have all submissions screened both automatically and manually. What garbage wasn’t automatically filtered would then be removed by hand. This, of course, would require further investment, development, and overhead on the part of Valve. It would likely calm the Internet, but it might not be financially worth it for the company.